Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Friday, December 09, 2005

Die Echte Weltsprache, Day Two

It’s Friday, but I’m not sure I want to thank God or not. This evening is going to be the Kashima Philharmonic’s final practice before our outrageously ambitious, two-day concert series. It’s also going to be our first opportunity to practice together with our guest solo pianist, Janka Simowitsch. It’s a good thing that my morning classes are all more or less just going over exam results, because my mind is on anything but my classroom work right now. In fact, my mind is too spaced out to be on much of anything. After yesterday’s linguistic workout, my brain was far too worked up. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep last night.

I do my best to avoid my computer in order to keep my fingers loose. I do, however, put in some time on both my guitar and my saxophone in order to prepare for the third performance of the weekend, a John Lennon/George Harrison tribute gig which I was invited to play along with Paul and Jeff. The afternoon comes all too quickly. As the kids in the orchestra load up the truck and buses, I get called away to a nap session (i.e. meeting), but I sneak away from it as quickly as possible and promptly go AWOL. Loading up in my BLUE RAV4, I’m soon on my way to the Kamisu Culture Center.

This is the first time ever for the Kashima Philharmonic to play here, and it’s a very different animal from the Kashima Workers’ Hall. Both the stage and the hall itself are bigger, for one thing. For another, the lighting and acoustics are different, which gives it a whole different (or was that “whole nuther”?) feel. It just doesn’t feel right for some reason.

Another problem is the air. I’ve actually been to the Kamisu Culture Center many, many times for various events. Every time I’ve come here in the past my allergies have gone nuts. The air inside isn’t good, apparently because the old air conditioner hasn’t been cleaned and maintained for ages. This time my sinuses stay clear, but I am in the building scarcely half an hour when my skull suddenly gets gripped by a nasty migraine that makes concentration impossible. I remain in this condition throughout the three-hour rehearsal. I can’t think, can’t keep my mind on what I’m doing, can’t stay in control. The sixteenth note runs flash by before I can get mentally prepared. I stumble in places I’ve never stumbled before. Needless to say, I’m really sucking tonight.

Speaking of sucking, as expected, the Piano Concerto is a mess. We just can’t seem to hang certain parts together, partly because of Janka’s being very different from Ms. O, but mainly because people simply aren’t watching. Even worse, after rehearsing hard for a while, I can hear some people starting to buckle. I call out to some individuals to save their chops and not play anything unnecessary, but you might as well tell a dog not to salute a fire hydrant. In Japan, the rule is always “practice till you drop (and then crash and burn from being too tired during the performance)”, and no amount of protesting or complaining on my part is going to change that.

Since I sit in the back row with the woodwinds, I can’t be of much assistance to Janka, but the other gaijin in the band, my good friend Chuck, is up front in the violin section. He doesn’t speak German, but they are able to do enough in English to figure out what’s what. Still, Janka is looking a bit tense, and I see a lot of worried faces among the orchestra members. I won’t even bother saying how Mr. Ogawa looks. I figure it’s probably all he can do to keep his pants dry right now.

Tomorrow will be showtime.

I think we’re in trouble.


  • The plot thickens. By now Moody must be wondering if "Die Echte Weltsprache" is something other than "musik".

    Obviously, as he slept, it was not "visions of sugarplums" that danced in his head.

    yuaaj - a word of German, English, and Japanese origins that only Moody understands.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 8:05 PM  

  • Pandabonium: U're right. Only Moody understands that new language: German+English+Japnese= (Clart Kent)Superman's own Language--->Supermaish.

    Wow...You are a smart Interpreter.

    Moody, do you know who am I?

    By Anonymous l.C_D, at 9:10 PM  

  • I've been wondering if there's a learder in a "big-show" like this, like conductor, who oversees everything, do all the necessary adjustment. Or everyone is professional enough to act on their own?

    I don't know who you are, l.c_d, but since we have Superman already, i was thinking of Wonderwomen :p

    BTY "musik" is music, in Malay language.

    By Blogger @ロウ 。LOW@, at 10:57 AM  

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